Skilled Nursing Defined
Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) may be freestanding, or part of a seniors community offering any or all of the following:
The type of care that may be administered ONLY BY A NURSING HOME near you is defined by state regulations. Generally, "medical procedures" and assistive acts requiring a nurse to physically "handle" a patient are limited to nursing home providers, when not in a hospital. Changing bandages deep wounds is often only permitted in Nursing Homes as is turning a patient in bed, who cannot turn themselves.
To learn where the line between a Nursing Home and Assisted Living is drawn in your state, see regulations in your state from our state resources pages. Also, speak with the discharge planner at the hospital because they deal with the fine line between levels of care needed on a regular basis. They will know if a patient needs a Nursing Home, or can receive the care they require in Assisted Living.
Both freestanding and senior multi-level campuses (those which offer different lifestyles and/or levels of care to meet resident's needs) with a nursing facility affiliated, generally accept residents for long term stays, as well as for short term recovery. Acceptance is based on availability, the nature of care needed, and the ability to pay or their acceptance of Medicaid.
A Nursing Home may not accept an Alzheimer's patient, whose illness is too advanced for them to be safely accommodated in an Assisted Living setting. If their behavior is disruptive to other nursing home patients, who do not have Alzheimer's, they may need to move into a specific Alzheimer's Nursing Home. The physical structure and layout of a home specific to Alzheimer's patients should better meet their needs, and staff training will better be able to deal with erratic or dangerous behavior.
An Alzheimer's patient may be discharged post-surgery to a nursing home which accepts reimbursement from Medicare. As they recover and regain mobility, they may exhibit inappropriate behavior for that nursing home. There may be no nearby nursing home that accepts Medicare reimbursement that is also prepared to accept and care for an Alzheimer's patient.
What to Look For In a Skilled Nursing Facility
When difficult situations arise, families may need to turn to social workers, case workers, hospital discharge planners, and yes, the internet to help them become educated about the options appropriate for their loved one. They may also need guidance to identify specific choices in their area. Unfortunately, decisions for selecting a nursing home are often made in haste and under stressful situations.
Don't just accept the recommendation of a professional. They may mean well and understand the level of care needed, but do not know your family or your family member. They will know which homes will take Medicare, Medicaid, and which ones only accept private pay patients. But must be comfortable with the care that will be, or is being provided for your loved one. So plan to do some of your own Nursing Home shopping. Ask around. Plan to visit and see how different homes "feel," "smell," and look for those who have happier residents. Follow the guidelines below to help you shop. Try to start shopping as soon as it seems you may need to place a loved one in a nursing home. That way, you will be less stressed when you have to make the decision. If you make it in haste, it is possible to have to remake the decision later and relocate a loved one. If the first placement is hard, the second one is harder!
There is no substitute for visiting the home in person!
Skilled Nursing Facility Checklist
Menus & Food:
Safety & Care:
Your Rights in a Skilled Nursing Facility
Federal law specifies that SNF residents have these rights:
Medicare and Skilled Nursing Facilities
Read through the government's official documentation here. People with Medicare are covered if they meet all of these conditions:
Your doctor may order observation services to help decide whether you need to be admitted to the hospital as an inpatient or can be discharged. During the time you're getting observation services in the hospital, you're considered an outpatient—you can't count this time towards the 3-day inpatient hospital stay needed for Medicare to cover your SNF stay.
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) covers skilled nursing care provided in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) under certain conditions for a limited time.
Medicare-covered services include, but aren't limited to:Medicare covers these services if they're needed to meet your health goal.
Additional Nursing Home Resources
Is your medical information available to your caregiver?
Here are some things to consider: